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Ask A Techie 20 Questions – Ghaffar Ellis – Tech Founder

How would you define a techie?

A techie is a person who is enthusiastically driven by technology both for fun and for business.

Tell us about yourself (short bio)

I am a dreamer, a designer of experiences, a relationship builder, a visionary maker, a techie. The most important aspect of me is I believe in interdependence of communities. I believe it is a great trait to have as a leader and a follower.

How has tech improved your life?

Tech played an important part of my childhood, almost as equal to the community that raised me. A simple tool as a pencil was a major part of my development. The small chairs that I used to have to sit on throughout school made me rethink its design as they all made my tall bones ache. To my first phone in 2002 that allowed me to understand dial-up, WLAN and broadband services. To my first PC [Dell E310] in 2005 that introduced me to the digital design apps and something new to explore the world wide web.

How can technology be used to improve Jamaica?

Technology is a tool that provides access to its potential users to reduce resistance to success. Technology can assist Jamaica extensively [across industry and culture] only when we make it a vital part of how we build assets and express our desire for assets or anything of value.

Tell us about your startup Apply 3D?

Apply is a technology startup that designs, builds and distributes 3D hardware and software solutions for the Original Content and Equipment Manufacturing (OCM & OEM) industries. We hope to make 3D technologies the foundation for tomorrow’s desires for those who make, create, engineer and manufacture.

This effort is to advance the deployment of new products and market segments, with the advancement of rapidly growing 3D technological tools and solutions which are key in developing the goods and services of the today, tomorrow and the future. We just happen to start with the Caribbean.

I started looking into ways to make stuff and the technologies that would help me to do this. I also had a problem helping my clients to physically represent the product I would design. So then in 2013 I found out about 3D printing and was blown away by it capabilities and limits. I used to own a view finder and this technology sparked my interest the same way it did, lol. So with the help of my friend Nicholas Coley I started Apply 3D. We are looking into business models that we could make money from using this 3D technology in some way, shape or form and the growth pains are still very real.

Nicholas decided to walk away from the project though he was instrumental in helping me to find other like minded persons to help with R&D and tackle the learning curve.

Our team of Nomadz include:

Ghaffar Ellis – Founder, Product Architect, Business Executive Officer
Davonne Beckford – Chief Industrial Engineer [Animation, Products, Infrastructure]
Patrick Meikle – Chief Design Officer [Animation, Product, Branding]
Randane Gould – Mechanical Engineer [Systems, Hardware, regulations]
Gregory James – Research Engineer [Bio-Chemical, Minerals]
Kristen Mullings – Administration Manager
Monesh Davis – Software Developer [Front-end Android]
Glenford Williams – Software Developer [Back-end Web & Mobile]
Jerian Lewis – Audio User Experience Engineer [Sound composition fx]

What do you know about 4D printing?

I have a lot more to learn about generative material, their development, their use cases and product segments, lol. Essentially, it takes static materials and makes them responsive to different environmental stimuli by both software and hardware, thus far. I can tell you from what I know, that new materials and the growth of augmented reality will drive a massive demand for 4D operational products from the nano-micro-macro level devices that are fully capable of solving problems in new ways that we have yet seen from applicable technologies in the past.

What is the meaning of your first name (Ghaffar)?

Interesting question. It means to forgive or the forgiver.

Your thoughts on the CARICOM Single ICT Space?

It is my first time hearing this term officially as it is something I think about and hear others discuss openly. From the context though, I believe there is a desperate need to have such a space as it will aid in unearthing new talents, funding opportunities, strategic workable relations, and regional connectivity.

I also believe it will give the region an advantage given our various cultural similarities and vast amount of differences. We get to test, implement, monitor, reshape and re-engage the market like never before.

Which house can fly?

The house of Heaven is my final answer, dwl.

What tech would you like to own?

You shouldn’t have asked this question.

I want to own the first version of our very own [NICR] 3D Printer so so badly!
There is a local company that makes backpacks called Bresheh, I want one real bad.
I’m in love with the One+ Company and the 3T is my favorite phone right now.
I need a shelfire box so if you know anyone make the connection asap, lol.
I like the new Samsung refrigerators and washers, real nice stuff.
I wish I held a few of Intel’s integrated circuit patents, that’s some nice tech to have.

I would love to but my team a few personal devices to increase our workflow and rate:

4 Microsoft Surface Studio – [We’d be killing them designs]
2 Production work stations – [64 GB of ram each]
Stratasys J750 Industrial 3D Printer – [Out of our current collective budget]
Tesla P950 – [I would sleep with Elon Musk on a bed separated by pillow because I might hug him for making that car]

Would you choose a million dollars or a year with Bill Gates?

A year with Bill Gates would be a worth more than that in value and money. I would learn the lesson he learned to make him money and then I’d make more than than a million.

The best advice you have received?

Fail fast, learn faster, implement fastest. By our design we are made for success.

What colour would you paint all the houses in Jamaica and why?

Green – it makes Jamaicans recognize a change is coming.

What sports teams do you support?

Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Mercedes Formula 1, Reggae Boys, All Caribbean Track Teams, Indiana Packers, Golden State Warriors, Red Socks, I also watch Liverpool because of Stevie G.

What tourist things must I do when I visit Jamaica?

Walk the streets and don’t listen to the scare tactics of these hotels.
The beach is a must on any side of the island but a river will please you.
Attend local event on either Wednesday, Friday or Saturday, seriously.
Eat local food, get out the hotel as the food doesn’t taste anything local.
Spend a day in the house of parliament and make friends with a politician.

What tech event would you like to attend?


How would you invest a million dollars?

I could create a model to compound every dollar into creating 2.

What future technology interests you?

3D-4D printing, AI, AR/VR/MR, Bitcoin, IOT, Dynamic Applications, Fin-tech, Robotics, value based ecommerce

How do you keep yourself “special” compared to your colleagues?

I never though of needing to feel special my colleagues they just tell me that I am. I feel really normal most of the times.

What question would you ask the next techie?

What was life like when you were at my stage of development?

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